A Bavarian tour goes off track with the murder of a clairvoyant.
It takes gumption to herd willful senior citizens around Munich during Oktoberfest. But the co-owners of Destinations Travel of Windsor City, Iowa, Emily Andrew Miceli and her husband, Etienne, are experienced handlers of old folks, most of whom work at a lock-and-key company back home. Most of their charges seem devoted to taking close-up selfies that exclude the scenery they came so far to see. An unexpected bonus is Zola Czarnecki, a CPA by day who offers to tell fortunes for the others. When she urges Emily and Astrid Peterson, a musician in one of the oompah bands on the tour, to avoid a certain alley, almost immediately a freak explosion injures Emily, vaporizes Astrid, and sends Astrid’s accordion in its armorlike case hurtling through space. Its miraculous reappearance is small consolation for Astrid’s mourning band mates (at least the male musicians). Worse still, Zola’s killed before she can fulfill her promise of readings all around. And in the midst of tours of historic sites—mostly wasted on the geezers and biddies in tow—the search is on for whoever had something to fear from Zola’s paranormal insight. As if Emily didn’t have enough on her hands with her mother’s sudden episode of temporary global amnesia, her father’s humiliating accordion debut, and her rube clients’ demands to know where the hot dogs are on their platters of wiener schnitzel, she’s coping with the mystery of Astrid’s journal. More than one man on the tour seems anxious to find it—but enough to kill for it?
Hunter (Fleur de Lies, 2014, etc.) returns for the tenth time with forced humor and annoyingly daffy characters. Although the flying-accordion motif is at odds with the sad fate of its owner, the dexterously constructed plot saves this cozy from utter bathos.